Two prominent Whitefish officials – the city manager and the chief executive officer of North Valley Hospital – announced last week they were stepping down to take jobs in other communities.
After nine years at the helm of Whitefish politics, City Manager Gary Marks announced last week he would be taking a job as city administrator in Ketchum, Idaho.
Marks, who oversaw a period of great change in Whitefish, said most of all he will miss the relationships he built over his long stay as city manager. “It’s all about the people and I don’t want to forget that,” he said.
Like Whitefish, Ketchum is a resort town, with the Sun Valley ski area nearby. Marks said he never sought the Ketchum job, but was asked multiple times to take it.
“I really didn’t go looking for this,” he said. “They pursued me.”
Finally, once Ketchum officials were able to get Marks to visit the area, he began to think about a professional change.
“The spirit of the place and the people and the enthusiasm of the community were all very appealing to me,” Marks said.
Marks said some of the projects he is most proud of taking part in include The Wave, the renovation of the armory, the BNSF Loop Bike Trail and the water treatment plant. He also spoke fondly of the role he played in improving Whitefish’s streets and preserving Depot Park.
“That’s huge, otherwise it probably would have been developed,” he said of Depot Park.
Marks expects to leave at the end of July. Before then he has a full plate, including hammering out the final details of the city’s budget and trying to figure out a dilemma over a proposed three-level parking garage downtown.
“I guess that’s plenty to keep busy for the next two months,” Marks said.
Craig Aasved, CEO of North Valley Hospital, also announced last week that he would be leaving his position. He has been named the new Chief Operating Officer at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.
In his eight-year tenure at North Valley, Aasved oversaw several large changes for the hospital, including the construction and opening of a new facility on a new campus and ongoing construction on an expanded medical clinic in Eureka. The hospital also expanded several programs during that time, including becoming a Planetree affiliate, achieving critical access status and adding plastic and reconstructive service, urological service, full-time radiologist service, and a sleep study center.
North Valley is hosting a community farewell party for Aasved July 10 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the hospital’s Valley Café.
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